How To Cope With Voices

Not everyone hears voices or sounds with psychosis, but it’s not an uncommon experience. The types of things people hear vary greatly; some may be distressing in nature, while others may even be comforting. Some may be temporary, and others lasting.

For a taste of what it’s like, listen along with Anderson Cooper as he tries to complete everyday tasks while listening to a simulation of hearing voices (warning: could be extra distressing for some).

It’s worth noting that hearing voices does not automatically mean someone is experiencing psychosis. A large international 2015 study found that roughly 5% of the general population hears voices at some point in their lives.


Tips For Coping With Voices

  1. Listen to music (especially with headphones).Radio hearing voices
  2. Go for a walk, especially in nature. In fact, any form of exercise can help you hit the reset button.
  3. Do something—like read a book, draw or make art, write in a journal, do a puzzle, play an instrument, garden, even just count down from 100—anything that requires that you focus intently.
  4. Find the things and people that help foster positive thoughts and feelings about yourself and the world.
  5. Do mindfulness practice or meditation. If you’re not sure how to get started, check out the Headspace app.
  6. Counteract negative messages by repeating aloud something positive about yourself, one hundred times over if you have to.
  7. Talk with a supportive friend or loved one.
  8. Gain control by engaging with, or even challenging the voices. Ask them to come back at a more convenient time, or dismiss them altogether. For example, when something negative is said, you might respond with, “Prove it!”
  9. Find a professional who specializes in psychosis and offers Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). CBT can help change our relationship with voices.

More Helpful Resources

Up next:


Causes of Psychosis

What stress has to do with it.

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